Hunter FAQ Cataclysm Edition (read this before asking questions)
This FAQ is now updated for 4.3
This FAQ is not meant to cover everything covered in the existing threads but rather to cut down on the amount of repetitive (and infraction inducing) posts that keep popping up. Please also consult the more detailed threads if your question is not covered here before posting. If you have any suggestions to be added to this FAQ please PM them to me to keep the clutter low.
Q) Which spec does the most dps?
A) As of 4.3 SV seems to be running higher than MM in most log reports but the gap is small and BM is running behind both. If your raid is missing a critical buff that you can only provide in another spec (such as 3% damage, 10% AP, Heroism/Bloodlust, % Stats or Stamina), it is probably worth running as that spec if the raid benefit outweighs your personal dps loss.
Q) How much AP and crit do I get for agility?
A) 1 agil gives 2 AP and approximately .003% crit. 324.85 agil = 1% crit. This is prior to including any multipliers such as Mail Armor Specialization (5% agil), Kings/Wild (5% agil), Into the Wilderness (10% agil) and Hunting Party (2% agil). For more details about stat conversions see http://elitistjerks.com/f15/t29453-c..._85_cataclysm/.
Q) Do pets inherit AP from the strength on hunter gear?
A) No. Pet consumables are also no longer available.
Q) Should I wear leather with good stats?
A) No, because if you have all 8 armor slots filled with mail, you will receive the 5% agility bonus from Mail Armor Specialization.
Q) What stats should be my priority? How can I compare gear? How should I gem?
A) Agility is worth significantly more than other stats and you should not gem anything but agility unless your socket bonus is 20 agil or higher and it only takes one non-red gem to activate it. Which stat is preferable for yellow sockets with good socket bonuses will vary by spec. Keep in mind that haste's value has sweet spots based on how it allows your shots to flow and keeps your focus in balance- see the relevant spec threads for haste plateaus. Use the Agile Shadowspirit Diamond for your meta. You can use Zeherah's Hunter DPS Analyzer to compare gear and gems.
Q) How important are my set bonuses?
A) Both T13 bonuses should provide a substantial dps bonus to all specs and should replace T12 as soon as possible, although MM will require special handling to get full value out of the 4pc. Both T12 bonuses are solid for all specs (better than using offset pieces), but not as good as the T13 bonuses.
Q) What is the hit cap?
A) The hit cap for a hunter is 8% (960 hit rating will get you 7.99%). If you are a draenei you will only need 840 hit rating (which is 6.99%) - pets now do inherit the hit buff. Draenei buff is self only now so all other hunters will need to cap from gear alone. Pet hit no longer rounds down.
Q) Does mastery round down?
A) No. Although the tooltip in game makes it look like mastery gets rounded down to whole points, testing indicates that you do get the full value of the mastery, so 16.99 mastery is definitely better than 16.01 mastery for instance.
Q) How does hunter focus regeneration work?
A) Base hunter focus regen is 4 fps (focus per second). 1% haste increases your focus regeneration by 1%, so 10% haste for instance would increase your base regen to 4.4 fps. It looks like all attack speed buffs will also affect your focus regen in addition to your attack speed. The exception to this is improved steady shot as well as hunting party and equivalent buffs, which is currently bugged and will actually reduce your regen by 10% instead of increasing it.
Q) What does haste and attack speed do for me?
A) Haste and attack speed both are treated similarly and both increase your autoshot and steady/cobra shot attack speed by the percentage listed (or in the case of rating the percentage it converts to). The effect of multiple haste buffs is multiplicative, except in the case of rating based buffs, which get added to your other rating before being converted to a percentage. To calculate your steady/cobra shot attack speed with various haste/speed buffs you can use the haste calculator. Focus regeneration is also increased by the percentage of haste or attack speed as described above (except for improved steady shot and the 10% attack speed raid buff). Hunter DoT tick speed/ticks are not increased by haste or attack speed, and neither is the global cooldown, which is 1 second. Pet attack speed is increased by all haste or attack speed buffs that are not specifically labeled as ranged only. Pet focus regen seems to be increased only by haste not specifically labeled as ranged only and not by attack speed buffs on the hunter such as heroism/bloodlust.
Q) Does weapon speed matter?
A) Special shots are now mostly normalized for weapon damage contribution (multishot is not). The base weapon damage still plays a small part in the shot damage (which gives a slight edge to slower weapons), but not a large enough amount for it to greatly impact weapon choice as the bulk of the damage comes from the AP contribution which is equal for all weapons. Weapon dps and stats will be a much larger factor in your damage. For all hunter specs, given the choice between two different speed weapons of the same dps, the slower one will usually be preferable.
Q) Does improved serpent sting do damage when refreshing serpent sting?
A) No, using chimera shot or cobra shot to refresh serpent sting will not trigger improved serpent sting's damage. The only time it will apply is when casting serpent sting manually on the target (or via multi-shot with the serpent spread talent). If you apply a serpent sting to a target that already has one up however, it will still do damage in addition to updating the duration of your current serpent sting.
Q) Does the 2nd talent point in serpent spread increase damage done by the improved serpent sting procs?
A) No. The damage from improved serpent sting is based off the full duration of the sting, so the extra duration added by the 2nd point in serpent spread does not affect it. The only benefit the 2nd point provides is increased duration on the sting it applies to the target, which in most cases is not useful as you're likely to multishot again before a 6 second sting wears off.
Q) Why does my dps suck?
A) This can be caused by a number of factors. Here are some things to look at:
Q) What pet should I use for raid dps?
A) Currently all pets of the same family should do the same dps. Ferocity pets are generally preferred because they have more direct damage buffs (Spider's Bite, Rabid, Call of the Wild and Shark Attack), but in some cases cunning pets may be a solid option since they have several bonuses as well (Owl's Focus, Feeding Frenzy, Wolverine Bite and Roar of Recovery) and all pet families inherit the same AP from the hunter. Tenacity pets generally are too lacking in damage buff talents to be terribly strong for raiding. In most cases you will want to choose a pet based on what raid buffs may be needed by your raid, as many pets provide full buff or debuff replacements. For full details on which pet to choose to fill a raid buff void, see Petopia's Pet Usage Flowchart and Ability Spreadsheet.
Q) What do all the acronyms mean?
Q) What professions will benefit me most as a hunter?
A) You can compare different profession benefits using the spreadsheet or web based version. The best professions from a pure dps perspective are:
Note: As of 4.3, if you are able to fill your gear completely with epic gems, the comparison of the professions changes. This makes blacksmithing the best as it then becomes a 100 agil gain, and jewelcrafting the weakest as there are no upgraded JC gems, so the gain drops to 51 agil. The other professions above continue to give approx 80 agil gain.
Other professions which provide lower dps benefits but are still provide a decent dps benefit for a hunter are:
Professions which provide little to no dps benefit are:
Q) What bugs are currently affecting hunters?
A) There is a fairly complete list of hunter bugs available at [BugS] Compiled list of Hunter Bugs - Forums - World of Warcraft
Q) What other hunter resources may be useful to me?
A) There are many excellent hunter resources available, here are a few that may be of use:
Q) What formulas are used for various hunter/pet abilities at level 85?
A) In many cases the in-game tooltips (and wowhead) give formulas which don't seem to match actual testing. These are the estimated formulas I've established from testing (mostly updated for 4.3). Some of my test data is old so if you have updated formulas please send me a PM with details.
Note: Weapon damage is typically calculated as: avg dmg of the weapon + RAP / 14 * 2.8
If the shot is not normalized then 2.8 is replaced with the speed of the weapon.
Aimed Shot - (100% weapon dmg + 72.4% RAP + 776) * 160% + 100 - tested 2/22
Arcane Shot - 100% weapon dmg + 4.83% RAP + 290.5 - tested 2/8
Black Arrow - 66.5% RAP + 2849 (total damage) - changed 6/28 in 4.2 (based off spell crit multiplier, modified by toxicology)
Chimera Shot - 100% weapon dmg + 73.2% RAP + 1620 - tested 2/8
Cobra Shot - 100% weapon dmg + 1.7% RAP + 277.21 - tested 12/19
Explosive Shot - 27.3% RAP + 448 (per tick) - changed 11/29 in 4.3
Explosive Trap - 54.6% RAP + 296 (total damage), initial damage is 5.46% RAP + 223 - changed 6/28 in 4.2 (initial damage uses physical crit multiplier, ticks use spell crit multiplier)
Immolation Trap - 10% RAP + 2880.6 (total damage)
Kill Command - 51.6% RAP + 918 - tested 2/12 (might be slightly off)
Kill Shot - (100% weapon dmg + 45% RAP + 543) * 150% - confirmed by testing on 7/30
Multi-Shot - 120% weapon dmg (not normalized) - changed 6/28 in 4.2
Serpent Sting - 40% RAP + 460 (based off spell crit multiplier, modified by toxicology)
Steady Shot - 100% weapon dmg + 2.1% RAP + 280
Melee Base Dmg: 73-110 - tested 12/27
Bite/Claw/Smack: 19.52% Pet AP + 164 - tested 12/27
Thunderstomp: 7% Pet AP + 170
Wolverine Bite: 10% Pet AP + 1 - tested 12/27
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